World industry leaders commit to City Region at Global Manufacturing Festival Launch

Published 1st March 2013 at 9:41am

This week leaders from world industry committed their organisations to backing the Global Manufacturing Festival in Sheffield City Region in April.

Key figures from Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Siemens and Tata gathered in London at the festival’s Westminster launch, responding with a unanimous ‘yes’ when asked if their buyers would attend the three day event.

Sir Roger Bone, President of Boeing UK, Dr. Hamid Mughal, Executive vice-president of Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology at Rolls-Royce, Andrew Peters, Director of Siemens UK and Mark Broxholme, Managing Director of Speciality Steels at Tata were speaking at a Roundtable panel at Church House to discuss developing strategies for growth in the region’s manufacturing industry.

Sir Roger highlighted Boeing’s relationship with the region through their status as a founding partner of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, an internationally renowned facility for precision engineering and materials research.

Speaking warmly of the region’s abilities he said: “We have seen the AMRC grow in the last decade to a multi-million pound research centre. Such is its excellence in our view and its understanding of the interface between manufacturing research and industrial application, we use Sheffield as a benchmark globally.

“We actually bring the presidents of American universities to Sheffield to show them how it should be done. Sheffield is up there in the top strata of relationships which we cherish.”

Dr. Hamid Mughal from Rolls-Royce also championed the region’s manufacturing prowess.

He said: “There are fantastic facilities in Sheffield. We are looking for a competitive supply chain and Sheffield has just the right culture, environment, heritage and the right technical advantage, not just for low-level manufacturing competitiveness, but the advanced level.”

Mark Broxholme of Tata Steel also came forward to comment on the reasons for their own regional investment.

He said: “Tata Steel is an international company and has choices on where it invests, and I am pleased to say that Sheffield and South Yorkshire is a good place to be. Actually we see no better place to be.

Broxholme added: “Because of the skills base and the platform this gives us for global business we have invested over £35m in the last three years.”

Sir Roger, Dr. Mughal, Mr Peters and Mr Broxholme were joined on the panel by Philippa Oldham, Head of Transport and Manufacturing at The Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Keith Jackson, Managing Director of JRI Orthopaedics, James Newman, Chair of Sheffield City Region LEP and Finance Yorkshire and the roundtable’s chair Terry Scouler, CEO of The Manufacturers Organisation.

Mr Newman was keen to point out his view on the challenges the city faces in its future and what needs to be in place to continue to nurture its burgeoning reputation.

Mr Newman said: “We have concentrated on OEMs and very important they are but there is an awful lot of manufacturing that doesn’t just rely on those. For me, as a person with responsibility to grow the economy of our region, we need entrepreneurship, we need exports, and we need to create an environment in the Sheffield City Region to which people will say this is a nice place to live, a place with the right skill set and access to finance.

“We need to be known as the region which can grow its manufacturing capabilities. I think we need some consistency from government in terms of policy, for example in terms of energy policy, and the right environment to support young companies.”

Other subjects raised at the discussion included the importance of skills and leadership development, how SMEs approach OEMs for business and political support for access to funding and greater inclusion of women in the industry, all of which will fully explored at the GMF Conference in April.

The GMF begins with the ‘Get Up To Speed’ event at The Blue Shed on Wednesday April 17, with the free to attend conference and trade show taking place on Thursday April 18 which features speakers from the aerospace, renewable energy, medical components, nuclear and skills sectors.

For more information and to book tickets visit www.globalmanufacturingfestival.com